The Use of Role-Play in Teaching English Vocabulary to Elementary School Students

Role-play is a fun and interesting way of teaching and learning English, because it enables students to produce oral messages, while pretending to be different characters, helping them develop their speaking skill and enrich their vocabulary. There are several ways of putting role-play into practice, but I shall focus on three of them, as following: in front of the class in groups of three, by randomly grouping students in two rows (standing, in the middle of the classroom), all saying their lines, at the same time and facing a partner in the opposite row or by randomly changing lines, in pairs, either with the desk mate, the teacher or another colleague they choose.

There are many role-play situations teachers can create, in order to help the elementary school students improve their speaking skills and self-esteem, by pretending to be someone else and not fear failure. Here are some examples of role-plays I use with my elementary school students, with themes according to School Syllabus no. 3393/28.02.2017 for 5th – 8th grades:

Theme: Going shopping

Example 1: At the greengrocer’s Student A (The shop-assistant): Good afternoon, how can I help you? Student B (The customer): Good afternoon, I would like 2 kilos of apples, please. Student A: Of course, here you are. That will be 1 pound and 50 pence. Student B: Here you are. Thank you. Student A: Thank you! Good-bye! Student B: Good-bye!

Example 2: Buying clothes Student A (The shop-assistant): Good morning, how can I help you? Student B (The customer): Good morning, I’d like to buy a red T-shirt, measure M. Student A: Of course, here you are? That will be 5 pounds. Student B: Here you are. Thank you! Student A: Thank you! Good-bye! Student B: Good-bye!

Example 3: Buying a present for someone Student A: It’s Mona’s birthday next week. We should buy her a present. Student B: I wonder what? Student C: I know! We could buy her a puppy. Student B: A puppy? Oh, no! I don’t think so. Student A: I agree with you. It’s not a good idea. How about a board game? Student B: What a good idea! But there are so many…. Student C: Let’s buy her a Monopoly game! Student A: I agree. Student B: Me, too.

Theme: Asking and giving directions

Student A: Hello! Can you help me, please? Student B: Hello! Of course, how can I help you? Student A: How can I get to the Library? Student B: You go straight, on this street, pass the Stadium and next to the Cinema, opposite the Park, you can see the Library. Student A: Thank you very much! Bye! Student B: You’re welcome! Bye! Theme: At the doctor’s Student A: Good morning, doctor. Student B: Good morning, Jane. What’s the matter? Student A: I don’t feel very well. I think I have fever. Student B: Let’s see (puts thermometer under patient’s armpit)… Well you have a high fever. You must have the flu. Other pains or aches? Student A: I have a headache and a soar throat too. Student B: Then, it is definitely the flu. You must stay in bed for a few days and takes some medicine that I will prescribe. Student A: Thank you doctor! Have a nice day! Student B: You’re welcome, Jane! Get well soon! Good bye!

Theme: Talking on the telephone

Example 1: Call a classmate and ask for the Math homework. Student A: Hello, Tom! It’s Mark. Student B: Hi, Mark! Student A: Could you please tell me what our Math homework is? Student B: Yes, of course. It’s exercise 4, page 45. Student A: Thanks! Bye! Student B: You’re welcome! Bye!

Example 2: Call you friend to invite him/ her to your birthday party: Student A: Hi, Mary! It’s Kate! Student B: Hi, Kate! Student A: I want to invite you to my birthday party, next Tuesday, at 5 p.m., at my place. Student B: I would love to come! Student A: Thank you! Bye! Student B: Bye!

Example 3: Call your mother and ask her if you can go to the cinema with a friend. Student A: Hello, mum! Student B: Hello, George! Student A: Can I go to the cinema, with Jim, tonight? Student B: What time and what film? Student A: The Lion King, at 7 p.m. Student B: Of course you can. Have fun! Student A: Thanks, mum! Bye! Student B: Bye!

Theme: Talking about a holiday

Student A (the travel agent): Hello, how can I help you? Student B(the customer): Hello, I am looking for holiday offers. Student A: Where would you like to go? Student B: I would like to visit Rome in June. Student A: I have a great offer: you can go by plane, stay in a beautiful hotel in the city centre for 3 days and have a guided tour with only 50 pounds. Student B: That sounds great! What can I visit? Student A: You can visit the Colosseum, Vatican city and many Squares and famous Cathedrals. Student B: Wonderful! I would like to book it! Student A: Great! I will call you when I have the papers ready. Student B: Thank you! Good bye! Student A: You’re welcome! Good bye!


prof. Alexandra Bercea

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